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March 05 , 2004

Merchant Makeover

March 5th, 2004 - Redevelopment at the Prestonwood Town Center site brings retailers and restaurants back to familiar territory Shopping areas in Addison, N. Dallas are lined up to benefit By STEVE BROWN Real Estate Editor With a posh new shopping mall surrounded by strip centers and restaurants, Belt Line Road and Dallas Parkway was the hottest retail corner in North Texas in the early 1980s. "Back then, it was the ground zero," said real estate broker Jill Tiernan of The Retail Connection. But after the mall closed three years ago, "the area became dated," she said, and retailers flocked to areas such as the intersection of Preston Road and State Highway 121 in Collin County. Now the Belt Line strip in North Dallas and Addison is seeing a renaissance, led by plans for a center to replace the vacant Prestonwood Town Center mall. The promise of redevelopment led Chicago investor Rushmore Properties to buy Prestonwood Place at Belt Line and Montfort. The 16-acre complex was built in the early 1980s and has 130,926 square feet of space. "For us, it seemed like a good time to buy that property with all the things happening there," said Rushmore Properties' Jenny Hall. "When the mall went dark, it hurt that area, but now attention will be focused there again." Prestonwood Place includes a former Service Merchandise store that will be remodeled and leased to new tenants. "Before we sold the property to Rushmore, we had been entertaining proposals from grocers to take the Service Merchandise building and redevelop it," says Peyton Millinor of Woodmont Co. "And we don't have enough hours in the day to return calls to potential restaurant users." Although Addison's restaurant row has lost some traffic to eateries on the Dallas North Tollway and in Plano and Frisco, shopping center owners say business is still strong along Belt Line Road. "There are so many young people that live in that area that there is high restaurant demand," said Mark Krasovec, vice president of Direct Development Inc. Last year, Direct Development bought the shopping strip at the southwest corner of Belt Line and Dallas Parkway. It's renovating the project and will rename it Addison Walk. "We are updating it to a more current standard," Mr. Krasovec said. "We should be done by the end of the spring," he said. Retail investors and developers along the Belt Line corridor can draw from almost 185,000 daytime workers and 130,000 residents within three miles of the intersection of Montfort and Belt Line, according to statistics from Archon Group, which is redeveloping Prestonwood mall. The nearby Addison Circle development has become one of the Dallas area's most popular apartment communities. And CityHomes is about to build more than 150 townhomes in the project. Developer ZOM Texas has built more than 200 townhomes on former parking lots on the east side of Prestonwood mall. "The demographics have not declined," said Ms Tiernan. "You just to need keep your people [shopping] in the neighborhood. "You have lots of new apartments in Addison, and the city is strong," she said. Last year, developers rebuilt the largely vacant Addison Town Center at Belt Line and Marsh. The retail complex was hit hard when its Kmart, Winn-Dixie and Comp-USA stores closed. Now tenants such as Target, Kroger, PetsMart and Babies "R" Us have put the project back on shoppers' maps. Archon is hoping the same thing will happen at Prestonwood Town Center, which is being torn down this week. "We're definitely looking at creating a sophisticated retail center," said Prudence Lidbury, vice president of real estate for Archon Group. "We recognize we're an urban retail destination, not a suburban site." Archon's shopping center will face Montfort Drive and include smaller retail and restaurant buildings on adjoining sites. Work will begin on the project almost as soon as the old mall is cleared and leasing is finalized. Real estate brokers say Archon's potential tenants include Wal-Mart, a home improvement superstore and other "big box" retailers. The plan for a shopping center to replace Prestonwood is good news for real estate investor and developer David Dunning, who owns the Prestonwood Village shopping center at the northwest corner of Montfort and Arapaho. "We are going to renovate," he said. "We just signed one large anchor tenant and are negotiating with two others. "Replacing the mall will definitely help the neighborhood," Mr. Dunning said. "And the other thing that helped was extending Montfort north from Belt Line to Arapaho. "This historically has been a strong retail district, and it will continue to be with these new projects," he said.
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